Practice Hardship

Practice Hardship

Practice Hardship

I have just heard the phrase “practice hardship” from a female outdoor adventurer. I get it. As someone who goes camping, I often hear from those that need their two showers a day or “all their creature comforts” that they don’t like camping. My mother-in-law used to joke that her idea of camping was staying in a four star hotel.

Well, I like a glamorous hotel as well as the next person, but when camping is great, it is better than a hotel. And yes, maybe you have to suffer a few discomforts to get those golden, jewel-like moments. I think that’s what she meant by “practice hardship”– embrace the hard stuff to get the rare benefits.

This got me thinking… how many times have you said you can’t, you won’t, you aren’t, it’s too hard, it’s too much work, I’m scared, I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve it?  Did you miss out?  What if we stopped saying those things to ourselves?  Maybe those are times to practice hardship, because the metaphoric jewels are worth the effort.

And please note that when you need to say no to a negative situation, a toxic relationship, or any suggestion of illness, it is not the time to “practice hardship.” When you should be resisting injustice, fleeing from abuse, or defending your rights, it is not the time to “practice hardship.” It is definitely not about accepting martyrdom or being a doormat.

What we are talking about here are things like getting up earlier. Like showing up routinely to exercise. Like a steadfast, regular prayer practice. Like strenuously climbing that mountain, or taking that demanding course, or preparing that fancy meal from scratch, or cleaning up that colossal mess. Like learning a new skill, following a schedule, or decluttering a home. Or like starting a new career, or having a baby, or getting your parents in that nursing home.

Yes, there is some “hardship” to embrace in doing those things, but if you push through and actually do them, the benefits far outweigh whatever difficulty you transversed in getting there. Don’t always take the path of least resistance and coast through life. You’ll miss too much of the sweet stuff. Rewards are worth the effort, and you’ll find that they are actually far more than equally reciprocal.

So practice hardship as a builder, or one who is progressing, like a trainer who lifts up the next heavier weight. Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself and your capabilities. Expand your concept of yourself to include what is new and exciting. Go out on that wobbly and precarious limb, because that’s were the fruit is.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Loree A. Ogan 5 years ago

    This is a great message as I try to plow through this months book!

  2. Marge Thornton 5 years ago

    As a grandmother who’s pushing four score years and ten I wish you younger people wouldn’t assume that we have to deteriorate with age!!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 5 years ago

      There was no such assumption made here. Sometimes people of any age resist doing what may be best for them or others. I give many examples, because not all of them will apply to everyone.

  3. Anita 5 years ago

    Thanks for the much needed encouragement to persevere and not give in to apathy.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 5 years ago

      You are welcome. I needed it myself.

  4. Gillian Smith 5 years ago

    Hi Polly and all,
    Having just returned from my crochet class (encouraged by your blog to take on something which has traditionally not been a talent!) where I felt I had made rather a hash of things, I read your blog. Although quite low on the ‘hardship’ scale, I do feel very encouraged. Took another look and, hey, it’s not THAT bad. And will parents of the babies who receive the blankets I am intending to produce, be less than happy with the fruits of my labours? I don’t think so ….. and it is going to GET BETTER!
    Thank you one and all !

  5. Dee 5 years ago

    Thank you, this is just the message I needed. How often have I procrastinated in my work on certain things, simply because it was easier to do so. This reminds me to look to God, directing my every step.

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